Revenge Of The She Punks Compilation Inspired By The Book subtitled a Feminist History of Punk, I have to admit I haven't read the book yet, but it's about just how hard it is for women to survive in the labyrinth of the music bizz. This is a great compilation put together by one very influential musician and writer who has been involved in Punk since the 70's explosion when she worked at Sounds.
My favorite piece of Vivien's writing is her report of the week she spent on Hampstead Heath with Fela Kuti as his entourage took part in burying someone alive for a week, the magic ceremony around the event, Vivien painted such a vivid picture of such an alchemical tribal event.
This compilation and book are themed around four main concerns Identity, Money, Love/Unlove and Protest and takes a global approach as the acts come from the 4 corners of the earth so they span the generations, from global superstars to underground artists almost all of whom share the Punk DIY ethic. Like any great compilation you should know lots of the songs and acts while letting Vivien introduce you to a few new names to discover.
The album opens with Welcome To The Rebelution by Tanya Stephens that's a rap to explain the concept of the album that feels like the opening of Downtown 81, as Tanya lays down what the problems are with the patriarchal nature of the music business as she asks for change with the strings having echoes of Buccaneer as this rabble rousing Jamaican address comes to a close.
It's Obvious by The Au Pairs sounds well funky with Punky guitar interjections; This is post punk in similar territory to Bush Tetras with the No Wave style sax breaks working around the ever-insistent bassline.
Identity by X-Ray Spex is the first big hit on the comp and still sounds just as magnificent as it did back in the late 70's, when blokes like my dad would complain that Poly was screaming and shouting rather than singing, well she needed to shout to be heard, Dave Flash Wright's sax sounds as great as ever a stone-cold classic hit.
Mujer Moderna by Fea is speedy urgent switches between English and Spanish through this song on the pains of being a modern woman, how they are mistreated, put upon, the vocals getting angry intense pain.
Babylonian Gorgon by The Bags who are as rough and ready and low-fi as the bands reputation would make you expect, this has a bit of a Sturm Und Drang feel with sneering vocals full of pain and distain at the things they see going on.
Visiones De La Muerta by Fertil Miseria sounds like it could have been on Holy Cobra Records, it has a Spanish hardcore sound, despite the band coming from Colombia, with low slung guitars and ranting vocals.
Smother Love by Crass is every bit as hectoring as you'd expect of a Crass song, as they ask all sorts of questions, as to why you'd buy into the mainstream love and relationships, as they suborn women and treat them as possessions, as the guitars smother you in fuzz and noise.
The Boiler by Rhoda Dakar & The Special AKA takes a vastly different view on The Boiler to Hanoi Rocks song on the same subject, but with a similar south London drawl to the vocals, as Rhoda explains why she feels like A Boiler, as her bloke is always looking for the next young thing, over the jazz punk backing, some monumental organ, before it descends into a dark Romeo scenario with violent brutality, this still sounds chilling, as the scenario it depicts is all too common, it really shouldn't be, a fearsomely brilliant song.
Maintain Control by Jayne Cortex And The Firespitters is lyrically in a place somewhere between Patti Smith's Piss factory and Joan Jett's Nag, but with a more taut funky punk backing to Jaynes insistent rapped vocals.
Silver Spoons by Skinny Girl Diet sounds as brilliant as it does on Heavenly Flow, as ever low-fi, insistent, Intense and making a point, easily reminding me why my jaw hit the floor the first time I saw them live at The Water Rats, the sound of young multi racial London millennial punk.
A scene that Big Joanie are also a part of. Dream No 9 has so much reverb and echo as this bass led low-fi tune really hammers home the message, with fuzz and distortion making clear why they have been a hot live band for the last few years, both sides of the pandemic.
Geld by Malaria! Opens with a motoric beat and cries of Achtung! Achtung! With industrial percussion a repeating synth pattern and vocal interjections.
Spend, Spend, Spend, by The Slits sounds as odd and not quite there as it always has, with dubby punk insouciance, weird guitars and wonderfully odd vocals.
CD1 closes with the peerless Persons Unknown by The Poison Girls with Vi Subversa's vocals sounding as ever like she's lived everything she's singing about, she's glad to have survived it all, this just reminds me of how lucky I was to see them play live a few times in the 80's, when seeing someone as old as Vi was, fronting a punk band was still considered rather shocking, now she would be younger than about half the front men and women in the punk bands I see at Rebellion each year. This is a brilliant anthem whose lyrics need to be carefully listened too.
The second cd opens with Too Many Creeps by Bush Tetras as Cynthia Sley tells us about just how dreadful the treatment, they get from all the creeps in the streets over Julia Murphy's bass heavy No Wave punk and Pat Place's scratchy guitar, this also makes me think about the recently departed drummer Dee Pop.
My Jamaican Guy by Grace Jones ups the funk somewhat as Grace tells us what she thinks of how he treats her.
Free Money by Patti Smith is such a brilliant anthem of hope, dreaming of winning a shedload of money, so you can do what you want, when you want. Even if these days I almost prefer Penetrations version of this classic rabble rouser, that always sounds great live by either Patti or Pauline.
Check Out Your Babe by Tribe 8 is rap rock through a Riot Grrrl prism that sounds like it would have fitted on the legendary Kill Rock Stars compilation, sadly it wasn't on that comp, but fits perfectly here.
The Punk by Cherry Vanilla is a good sneering Sex Pistols piss-take as one of David Bowies right hand women sounds like she's having great fun telling us she wants to be a punk rather than a Rock & Roller.
Rip Her To Shreds by Blondie is still a great slice of street smart sneering Noo Yoik take down of some of the Groupies and other hangers on, as she tells us to Rip Her To Shreds, which is not the most feminist of sentiments.
Little Babies by Sleater Kinney reworks a child's nursery rhyme into something all together more adult and questioning as they hope to be treated as adults and equals.
On My Radio by The Selecter is of course a bona fide Two-Tone dance floor ska punk classic that sounds just as great as it always has done, if any younger listeners haven't heard this before I hope they get converted on the first listen, as I did back when it came out at the end of 70's.
White Mice by The Modettes pulls its parka on as it takes me back to dancing at discos at Leytonstone Ilford football club, I hadn't heard this in ages, a great tune that still makes me want to get up and dance, as slowly but surely the songs message should seep in so we can all behave more peacefully.
It's A New Find By Shonen Knife, is classic Shonen Knife, a good chugging beat and simple and effective vocals upbeat while celebrating every new find, like the short guitar solo.
No Ones Little Girl by The Raincoats is a disturbing tale, of the sorts of men that would use that phrase, with scratchy strings, poignant vocals to gently remind us of how dark the 60's and 70's could be, if you were young tender prey, this is a song of resistance to being used like that, abused by the pots and pans percussion.
Vivien Goldman's own Launderette is kitchen sink drama toasting deep dub tale of love and intensity the sound of All Saints Road, the front-line vibe production, you need to turn up the bass and rewind the selector.
Sokol by Zuby Nehty is a Czech folk punk classic that sounds a bit like Tri Sestri this has a good prog folk element as we all chant Dobradene along with them.
The album concludes in proper b-girl fashion with Neneh Cherry's classic floor filler Buffalo Stance with all it's cheek and scratching this song has always brought a smile to my face so just strike a pose and remember the guys a gigolo and get on that dancefloor.
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